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Andy Serkis and his precious.

"LotR launched the career of one man, who must now wear skintight Spandex and face dots for the rest of his life."
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Andrew "Andy" Clement Sarkisian (born April 20, 1964) is an English actor, painter, and director. He has three sisters and a brother. As a child, Serkis wanted to be an artist; he was fond of painting and drawing, and visualized himself working behind the scenes in productions. Serkis studied visual arts at Lancaster University. There he became involved in mechanical aspects of the theatre and did stage design and set building for theatrical productions. Then Serkis was asked to play a role in a student production, and made his stage debut in Barrie Keefe's play Gotcha; thereafter he switched from stage design to acting, which was a real calling that transformed his life.

In 1999, Andy Serkis landed the prize role of Gollum in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy based on J. R. R. Tolkien's saga The Lord of the Rings, which quickly made him the best known motion capture performer in the movie industry, and Trope Namer for Serkis Folk. He spent four years on the part and received awards and nominations for his performance as Gollum, a computer generated character in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) which won eleven Oscars.note  Notably, Smeagol/Gollum's distinct voices were achieved with little to no computer trickery - Serkis can and does do them at live appearances. Serkis also used this art form in his performance as Kong in King Kong, which won him a Toronto Film Critics Association Award (2005) for his unprecedented work helping to realize the main character, and a Visual Effects Society Award (2006) for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture.

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In 2011, Serkis parleyed his experience with Gollum and King Kong into the foundation of his own visual effects studio, The Imaginarium, which specialises in providing performance capture for motion capture characters in films, TV, and video games.

At the end of 2018, Serkis made a return to make a satirical video crossdressing as British Prime Minister Theresa May while acting in-personality as Gollum and Smeagol as a Take That! to her Brexit strategy.

Andy Serkis married actress and singer Lorraine Ashbourne, and the couple have three children: daughter Ruby (b 1998), and two sons, Sonny (b. 2000) and Louis George (born 19 June 2004).


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Selected works:


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Andy Serkis and his works provide examples of:

  • Chronically Killed Actor: If it doesn't happen in the first movie, it'll happen in one of the sequels. Don't get too attached if he's playing a hyped-up villain.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: In character as Gollum. As Sméagol protests. And Serkis himself looks on in horror. It is glorious. It was written by Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Despite his most famous role being a high-pitched talkative loon, he is perfectly capable of using this trope as well, such as Snoke from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
  • Field Promotion/You Are in Command Now: As the second unit director for The Hobbit.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Researched gorillas in the wild in order to get a better insight on playing one of them in King Kong. He soon learned that it's not that simple: like humans, gorillas are all individuals with unique personalities, and that there's really no such thing as a "typical" gorilla:
    Serkis: When you talk about studying gorillas, what you're really doing is studying people. You can have, say, a very loving gorilla, or a very mean gorilla, or a very uptight gorilla, or a very relaxed gorilla. Which got me wondering at that point, "Okay, so who is Kong?" It didn't narrow down the field; it opened it up.
  • Hot Drink Cure: He's remarked in interviews that playing Gollum caused him vocal strain until his speech coach developed a concoction of honey, lemon, ginger, and hot tea, which they dubbed "Gollum Juice." The hot beverage, consumed "by the bucketload," saved Serkis's voice.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: King Bohan in Heavenly Sword.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: More like Man of a Thousand Bodies, but let's put it this way: Would you have guessed that Captain Haddock, Gollum, and Supreme Leader Snoke were all voiced by the same person?
  • Putting the Band Back Together: When given the opportunity to come back to Middle Earth as Gollum in The Hobbit, became the second unit director, as well.
  • Serkis Folk: The Trope Namer, naturally, after his pioneering work in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Shakespearian Actor: Perhaps most notably via his performance as Iago in 2002.
  • Those Two Guys: Has co-starred with Jamie Bell in Deathwatch, King Kong, and Tintin.

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